Why Group Discussions?

From all I know, a group discussion means an activity in which all the people in group, not necessarily in same order, and depending upon their choice, give their opinion over the issue being proposed. As soon as all those who want to give their opinions are done, starts the phase of cross questioning or the so called ‘Shouting Phase.’

Those who do not want to speak have a different story altogether, but for those who want to, have a tough time expressing their views given some people do not know what is the difference between a ‘Group Discussion’ and a ‘Debate.’ They go on shouting, mostly aimlessly and to dominate others, ruining the discussion for the ones who might have some valid points but are not stupid enough to contribute to the fish market.

I was in a GD recently (name of the b-school does not matter, it happens everywhere I guess) where we had a general topic having many pros and very few cons. I was sure about my point (which was a con) and then started the GD. After just a minute a candidate began to discuss pros in a very loud voice. After 2 other candidates put forward their points (trust me, with great difficulty) and others barely tried to absorb words out of chaos, a girl said- Let’s discuss the cons now. But poor girl, little did she know what came next- “Let’s discuss one more pro.”

The guy continued, with such a loud voice and the opposing replies that no one got nothing out of it. Another guy initiated a discussing on cons. Exactly the same guy shouted claiming he had a ‘pro’ story to tell. This happened like 4 times till the bell rang and the discussion ended with just no conclusion.

The moderators finally agreed that it became a fish market. They allowed all other candidates (the majority) to give their opinion and there ended the GD.

The point I am trying to make is that if these discussions do not end with anything fruitful, why are they even conducted? Why not just ask everyone to give their individual points one by one and save time and energy? Many may say that b-schools judge the behaviour of a person and mark him/her accordingly, but at the same time they are ruining its essence and indirectly affecting other students’ performance (Yes, we get marks for what we say, and if we do not speak anything, however good we are, we won’t get marks. No one knows how much it matters to give a single point in the end!).

I get it why GD’s are done away with, in most of the IIMs and many other top notch institutes’ evaluation process. It’s an extremely, though not intentionally, biased activity. A candidate’s performance cannot (and should not) depend on others’ around him/her.

I want everyone’s opinion over this one (And I allow everyone to speak)